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Veterans Day touches many

AMENIA — With great appreciation and goodwill, the people of Amenia attended a ceremony at Fountain Square, to thank local veterans for their service and their valor, an annual tradition the town sponsors on Veterans Day, which falls on the 11th day of the 11th month each year. This year the holiday came on Friday, Nov. 11; the ceremony began at 11 a.m., as did numerous events across the Harlem Valley and throughout the nation. “Veterans Day is important because it’s an opportunity to thank veterans for taking time in their lives for being away from home and making the sacrifices they do,” said Jr. Vice Cmdr. Rick Butler, of Harlem Valley VFW Post 5444. “And it means a lot to see new faces out here, the younger generation out here with their families. It shows veterans that we are appreciated for what we have done and are still doing today.”Which was exactly why resident Joe McEnroe was in attendance at the ceremony, which he attends on an annual basis.“I like to come out to pay my respects,” he said, adding he recently watched a program on the History Channel about Vietnam War veterans. “I have a lot of respect for them.”Town Supervisor-elect Bill Flood was one of the speakers at the ceremony. He also spoke beforehand about why Veterans Day is so important.“It’s a great day for veterans here,” he said. “It’s great to see everyone show up and respect the lives of veterans.”Flood told the crowd later that only 1 percent of America’s population enlists in the Armed Forces, while the remaining 99 percent depends on the military to protect them.“With no questions they protect us and the rest of Americans around the world,” he said. Honoring those who serve and protect the unknown masses is something that Millerton resident John Morrissey said he makes sure his family does each Veterans Day. Morrissey’s father was a veteran, as is his next-door neighbor and his neighbor’s son.“[My son] Sean asked why we were coming here and I told him it’s to remember the people who gave their lives or health so we can be free,” Morrissey said, adding his 6-year-old son is a Cub Scout just learning about soldiers and veterans. “Every time he hears ‘Cub Scouts’ he thinks it’s something fun, but I said today it’s serious, and that we have to give thanks to the people who provided the safety we live with.”Vietnam veteran and Amenia resident Rudy Eschbach sang “God Bless America,” with fellow veterans during the ceremony. He said each and every Veterans Day he is touched by the number of citizens who attend the town’s ceremony at Fountain Square.“It’s an honor for those who served and are still serving,” he said. “That they do this for Vietnam veterans is a welcome home; the symbolism still lasts.”

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